wounded in the line of duty
The only issue not mentioned in comments is the Novell mentality and purpose.
Novell is attempting to use Suse GNU/Linux as base for as much proprietary technology as possible, just short of the legal boundary against infringing the relevant licenses.
The question was never a technical issue, and therefore gratis SLES is unlikely to ever gain a worthwhile foothold, since many who would form a "community" around OpenSLES would very quickly hit big firewalls from Novell in making progress, thus become discouraged and eventually migrate back to other "enterprise" oriented gratis distributions.
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